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Preparations underway for SLS dress rehearsal

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 4:54 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - NASA is currently preparing for the last big ground test for the Space Launch System, before its flight around the Moon. Engineers will take their positions on consoles Friday at key centers, including Marshall, to conduct the weekend-long test.

Marshall Space Flight Center designed, developed and delivered the massive spacecraft, but now, workers on-site in Huntsville will play a key role in proving the rocket can fly.

The Space Launch System currently sits poised on LaunchPad 39B in Florida. The 48-hour final exam is a test for the spacecraft and those who control it.

“The wet dress rehearsal for the space launch system is the most complex and exciting test we’ve done to date on the rocket. It’s an entire system that we’re going to test on the launch pad, just like the day we launch,” said SLS Associate Manager Sharon Cobb.

NASA’s propulsion expertise is centered at Marshall and this wet dress rehearsal means a key part of this test will be to successfully and safely load and unload more than 730,000 gallons of rocket fuel into the massive tank.

“That’s 196,000 gallons of liquid oxygen, 537,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen, and if you think about filling up an Olympic size swimming pool, it’s more than 100,000 gallons more than the pool,” said Cobb.

Cobb and others will be at Marshall Space Flight Center supervising and watching all the numbers and the gauges.

“There will also be a team of engineers who have been instrumental in building this rocket, they’re be monitoring all of the data coming from that rocket, just like they will be on launch day,” said Cobb.

NASA is going to be very methodical about conducting the test and take it step by step. It’s a new rocket, a new launchpad, new control rooms, and new issues may crop up, as they have in the last 10 years of development. Cobb is confident that the SLS will pass the ground test, and fly early this summer

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